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Caro-Kann Two Knights Variation

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PopcornSC

Going over tactics more than once is the understatement of the century. When I had my biggest jump in playing strength was after wearing out a few tactics books. Going through them so much that I could instantly see the answer to every problem. And if I'm being honest with you I shouldn't have stopped there, I should have just kept adding more and more tactics books to that list because tactical blunders are still responsible for 90% of my wins and losses if not 99%. Learning positional concepts is nice but it doesn't matter if you can't find the tactics that lead from a superior position. Many times, if you can't find the correct idea (that will usually be steeped in tactics) the opponent will consolidate and you will lose. This is very easy to see with mating attacks and sacrificial play in general. Because attacking the king is actually a positional concept as the most important concept in positional chess is king safety but you won't be able to cash in if you don't know mating patterns and keep missing easy tactics.

 

Edit: I also think it's better to work with relatively small sets of tactics problems, specifically to ingrain them into your memory. The tactics trainer here can be nice but if you just use it as is, it's more of a test to see how good you are at tactics, not an actual trainer. Although, there are options to limit the set of problems, so using it correctly (imo) can be a substitute for tactics books.

KevinOSh

I just watched this and it has reinforced my opinion that the Two Knights variation is very underrated at the club level. Grandmasters tend to either ignore it completely in their books or only write a few pages that barely teaches anything on it.

It is a minefield for black. There are so many traps where black is getting checkmated in under 20 moves. Even if black knows and avoids all of them, black only manages to reach a middlegame where he is about equal.

Caro-Kann: Two Knights variation opening traps

 

PopcornSC
KevinOSh wrote:

I just watched this and it has reinforced my opinion that the Two Knights variation is very underrated at the club level. Grandmasters tend to either ignore it completely in their books or only write a few pages that barely teaches anything on it.

It is a minefield for black. There are so many traps where black is getting checkmated in under 20 moves. Even if black knows and avoids all of them, black only manages to reach a middlegame where he is about equal.

Caro-Kann: Two Knights variation opening traps

 

 

 

This is true for almost every opening. There is no reputable opening that leads to an advantage for black without mistakes from the player with the white pieces.

RussBell

@KevinOSh

All of the books that you have read and/or are reading are very good.....I have recommended them all here, including Weeramantry's excellent book...

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

Also FYI.  Christof Sielecki's newest (being published soon) opening repertoire book - "Keep It Simple For Black" - is a complete opening repertoire for Black where the featured defense against 1.e4 is the Caro-Kann, including coverage of the Two Knights variation.  The book is also now available as a course on Chessable.  If it is of interest you can get a sense of the contents of the book by checking out this marketing blurb for the Chessable course....

https://www.chessable.com/keep-it-simple-for-black/course/92793/

pfren

4...Nf6 5.Nxf6+ is not "objctively best" but rather "objectively harmless" after 5...exf6: The knight isn't well placed at f3 in this structure. It reminds me of the following nice game:

 

 

5.Qe2 is the only serious try for advantage, although I think Black can equalize.

EDIT: I cannot post the game properly, it seems that the old bug which was supposed to be resolved is running circles.

 

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent"]
[Date "2014.10.26"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Jobava, Baadur"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B11"]
[WhiteElo "2767"]
[BlackElo "2717"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2014.10.21"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "UZB"]
[EventCategory "21"]
[SourceTitle "CBM 163"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2014.11.11"]
[SourceVersion "1"]
[SourceVersionDate "2014.11.11"]
[SourceQuality "1"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Qe7+ 7. Be2 Qc7 8. d4 Bd6 9. O-O O-O 10. h3 Rd8 11. Be3 Nd7 12. c4 Nf8 13. Bd3 Ng6 14. Qc2 Be6 15. Rfe1 Qd7 16. Bd2 Bxh3 17. gxh3 Qxh3 18. Bxg6 hxg6 19. Re3 g5 20. c5 Bf4 21. Rb3 Bc7 22. Qc4 Qh5 23. Kg2 Qg4+ 24. Kf1 Re8 25. Re1 Qh3+ 26. Kg1 Rxe1+ 27. Bxe1 Qg4+ 28. Kf1 Re8 29. Ng1 Bh2 30. Ne2 Rxe2 31. Rxb7 Re6 0-1

 

KevinOSh

 

pfren

Yes, this one. It still does not appear in my post after several edits.

KevinOSh
pfren wrote:

Yes, this one. It still does not appear in my post after several edits.

Thanks this is a great game. I found there is this GM King video on it

dude0812
aggressivesociopath wrote:

Your not making me mad. But what are you trying to learn here?

These games are being decided, or should be decided, by tactical blunders and you keep talking about the opening.

He is talking about middle game plans in the Caro Kann, not about the opening moves.